• REMOTE Debian VPS in an untrusted datacenter (i.e. a third party hosting provider) serving files to the Office through internet.

  • LOCAL Office with 4 Ubuntu, Mint and Debian machines, with simultaneous access to the remote files in the server.

  • An absolute requirement of secure transfer.
  • A requirement to have network mounted filesystems (doesn't serve SFTP or web access to files).
  • We have a decent 4 Mbps internet connection.
  • Users don't use the console, and don't have pure ssh access, only through GUI (Nautilus or similar).


A SSHFS and FUSE on the Office machines, accessing the files securely to the VPS.


Everytime that someone copy/moves a folder inside the same VPS server using Nautilus (or similar) on the remote filesystem with the sshfs, the folder is downloaded and uploaded. If the folder contains 10Gb of data, the network suffers 20Gb!!! We have to move sometimes folders on the same VPS, and have huge amount of data.

Is there any solution to the above problem with the given constraints? If not, do we have to select other network share system that fulfills these criteria? Which one?

  • 1
    Can't you use samba with VPN connection? – fboaventura Feb 20 '13 at 23:19

You are asking for a feature called "server side copying". It was recently implemented in NFS, Samba, AFP. For it to work both server and client software must support it. It is a really new feature so you have to read the description of the latest versions of tools you could use to see if it is supported. Look into AFP more closely.
The other way may be to install a web interface for a server, something like owncloud. Then users would move big files with it.

  • AFAIK, no SMB Linux client supports it yet, only server. Because politics. – Barafu Albino Sep 15 '16 at 20:38
  • Although the VPN solution is practical, this answer spots on. We no longer have the issue, as we moved infrastructure, though. – null_pointer Sep 30 '16 at 1:53

The best scenario would be to have a local server. But I assume you have reasons against that which aren't mentioned here.

The next best would be a VPN. Setup OpenVPN on the remote server and either a whole site VPN on your office network (even most low end business routers support VPNs these days) or a VPN client on each PC.

Then use NFS or CIFS (Samba) to share the files. These are both stable and heavily used network filesystems, and they don't rely on FUSE so should be more stable. Both are intelligent enough to move files without the two way trip over the internet.

The VPN ensures the traffic is safe from the untrusted datacenter and internet. Both NFS and CIFS have security but are generally not intended to be run on a completely untrusted network.

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